Bao Bao prepares to meet her public

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FedScoop’s Social Studies keeps tabs on the latest lifestyle news and events around the Beltway.

2014_01_panda Bao Bao meets the press Jan. 6, 2013. On Jan. 18, she’ll meet zoo visitors. (Photo: Abby Wood, Smithsonian’s National Zoo).

She’s conquered media training. She’s even met a Golden Globe winner. With just days before her Jan. 18 public debut, Bao Bao the panda cub is practicing her climbing techniques and getting lots of beauty sleep (on her back, according to zoo keepers).

On Saturday, zoogoers will finally get the chance to peek at the newest and most famous giant panda at the National Zoo — if she wants to see them. The panda habitat will open Saturday morning, but there is no guarantee baby Bao Bao will humor her fans. She and mom, Mei Xiang, will have access to the cozy den where they have been nesting for the past few months and may choose to tuck away in their private quarters instead of exploring in the exhibit.

The zoo anticipates a huge crowd of visitors hoping to see the pandas. Viewing hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for Bao Bao’s debut weekend. Beginning Jan. 21, the exhibit will open 10 a.m.

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